New Tricks: YEAR 2 - Dance - Engage

Little J dreams of being an acrobat in a circus when he grows up. With the help of Jacko and B-Boy, he practises circus tricks in the backyard after school. Uncle Mick, a Search and Rescue officer comes to school to talk about his work. Little J uses his circus skills to demonstrate a search and rescue procedure.

Engage - Explore, improvise and organise ideas to make dance sequences using the elements of dance

Theme - CIRCUS

After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 3 ‘New Tricks’, engage students with the following activities to support their understanding about personal and social strengths, dance elements and techniques.

Have students recall the skills and tricks that Little J performs in this episode, such as hula-hoops, juggling, tightrope walking, and rope course. Discuss the movement skills needed for performing these tricks, such as coordination, timing, arm extension, flexibility, balance, eye-hand coordination, step sequencing, etc.

Prepare a safe working environment by uncluttering the area so students can move safely without bumping into each other, and the classroom furniture. Adhere to safe performance guidelines of the school and the education authority.

Explain that when playing sport or dancing, participants should use warm-up with stretching routines to protect their bodies from stress and damage. A warm-up and cool-down is an essential part of any movement lesson.

Invite the students to stand in a circle, an arm’s length from each other. Explain that you want students to create a movement to resemble the movements of the tricks Little J used in the episode. Have students practise each movement three times. Ask students to move on their spot as though they were performing a hula-hoop movement, a juggling movement, tightrope walking and the rope bridge movement.

Count four beats by clapping your hands. Students complete each movement to two cycles of four beats. Repeat and practise the sequence: hula hoop, juggling, tightrope walking, and rope course. Introduce the concept of dance ‘levels’: high, medium, and low levels of movements.

  • Low level: when the body is close to the ground
  • Medium level: at stance or height
  • High level: movement is performed with the arms in the air and the feet stretched onto toes.

Invite students to modify their circus movements by introducing a low, and high version of each movement. Have students practise their sequence of movements to the four beat sequence.

Divide the class into groups of five students. Each group perform their individual movement sequence to the 4 x 8 beat clapping. The rest of the class is the audience. Have students evaluate how they can interpret and revise their movements.

Add the title music to Little J & Big Cuz and have the whole class perform their movement sequences at high, medium and low levels. Video the dance sequence as a class performance and, if possible, also the ‘group of five’ practice performances. Play the video for students to self-evaluate what elements of their dance could be improved.

For definitions of each element, refer to The Arts Glossary, Australian Curriculum.

Introduce the following dance terms:

  • elements of dance: space, time, dynamics and relationships.
  • locomotor and non-locomotor movements
  • expressive skills.

As a class, discuss how the dance elements and concepts were evident in the students’ performances.